Hearing your doctor tell you have diabetes can be quite alarming when you first are diagnosed. The good news is, it doesn’t have to spoil your lifestyle. By maintaining a balanced diet, you can still enjoy most of the things you always have.

Dining out with friends at a restaurant from time to time is still feasible, as long as you mind your intake of carbohydrates and fats. You’ll want to order foods low in fat and carbohydrates whenever possible. Avoiding deep-fried foods and cream-laden foods can be essential to maintaining good over-all health. Items like burgers, fries, and breaded items tend to have high fat content and therefore are not the best choices on the menu to choose while eating out. Creamy entrees like Pasta Alfredo and potato soup should be consumed in moderation as well because of the excess fat you don’t want in your body. Eating high quantities of fatty foods can increase diabetic symptoms over time and can lead to other health problems as well. Unfortunately, diabetics run a higher chance of developing heart disease than non-diabetics, so by cutting back on the fat you can be doing your heart and the rest of your body a favor.

Planning ahead can also put you at a dietary advantage. If you know what restaurant you’ll be attending in advance, you have the opportunity to contact them over the phone or visit their website to review their menu options. By finding appealing, healthier options ahead of time, it will be easier to make smarter, diabetic friendly choices when you get to the restaurant. Often friends get caught up in chit-chatting and feel rushed to make a decision once the waiter arrives, so by knowing what you will order ahead of time you can avoid making a rash decision. Most chefs are happy to accommodate the requests of their patrons, especially when medically necessary. Asking for the herb chicken to be grilled instead of fried, or vegetables to be steamed instead of cooked in butter are examples of special requests you can make to insure you are putting better nutrition into your body. Also if the dish you are ordering comes with a creamy sauce, you can ask that it be put on the side so you have more control over portion intake, or you can ask that the sauce be replaced with a healthier vegetable based sauce. Remember your health should be a priority, so don’t be too afraid to ask.

Dessert is where things can get a little tricky. It can be frustrating to sit and watch friends indulge in something sweet while you try to avoid sweets entirely. Thankfully, you may not need to skip out on dessert as long as there are fruit based desserts on the menu. Fruit based deserts tend to have less sugar and cream than most cookies, cakes, cream puddings, or ice-cream.

Be mindful of alcohol consumption. Although the recommended maximum daily amounts for women equal out to be around a glass of wine for women and a beer and and a half for men, it may be something you choose to forego if you are trying to lose weight. Achieving a healthy weight is crucial to improving overall health and diabetic symptoms. If you do chose to drink while out, be sure to drink while you eat and not an empty stomach, as it could result in a dangerous drop in blood sugar.

By maintaining a proper diet with a focus on moderation, you and your doctor can help manage your diabetes without impairing your social life.